Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Fantastic Lodging For Our November Trip To Italy


   Now that we have finalized our major train trip plans, I would like to share our lodging choices. Since our flight to Italy takes us to Milan's Linate Airport, we'll be staying in Milan (Milano) for the first night of our 15 days in Italy; next, we'll take the Trenitalia Frecciarossa (fast train) to Florence (Firenze) for a 3 day visit; then, we'll board the Italotreno, another fast train, bound for Naples (Napoli). on our way to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast where we'll be for 5 days; and, finally, before returning to Milan for our final night, we'll take the Italotreno train north to Bologna for a 5 day visit. It might seem like a lot of moving around, but really, we'll have lots of time to relax and take day trips from each location without being too stressed or trying to do too much. However, we will be traveling more with our luggage than we did last year so we're going to try to pack lighter than ever. We will have a washing machine in each of the apartments we've rented which should reduce the need for extra clothes. Hopefully, packing for 7 days instead of 15 will lighten our load considerably.

  Choosing our lodging mainly involved viewing properties and reading reviews on Booking.com and Tripadvisor. The average per night price for our hotel and apartments is about $101(with a high of $140 and a low of $82) which we think is pretty reasonable. Last year we stayed in Milan at the Hotel Mythos for a total of 4 nights and found that it was economical, clean, quiet and close to the Milano Centrale train station, which was ideal for us. So, it was a logical choice for us this time at €83, or about $93 at today's exchange rate. The main reason we'll be in Milan is that our Aer Lingus airfare was much cheaper than flying into Florence. We do favor Swiss Air when flying into Florence, though. There are still things you can do in Milan even if you're there for only a 1/2 day and night. If you plan a couple months ahead, you should be able to get tickets to see DaVinci's Last Supper (we did this last year on our last day with tickets from Selectitaly). And, if you walk to the Last Supper which is about 2 1/2 miles from the hotel, you can see Milan's impressive Cathedral ( Duomo di Milano), the La Scala Opera House and The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II mall on the way!

Hotel Mythos in Milano.

Our room at Hotel Mythos.

After our one hour and thirty-nine minute train ride to Florence, we have about a 15 minute walk to our Design Apartments on Via Venezia that we booked through Booking.com. We were disappointed that the apartments we stayed in on our previous 3 trips to Florence were not available, leaving us to find someplace new to stay. The prices seemed a bit more expensive for a decent apartment in Florence, but choosing this apartment was not difficult at all after reading the great reviews, seeing the perfect location and viewing the photos. Our price for this one bedroom apartment for 3 nights was €375 or about $420. The apartment is close, within 15 minutes walking, to the Piazza San Marco (5 minutes), the Accademia Gallery (8 minutes), the Uffizi Gallery (15 minutes) the Ponte Vecchio (15 minutes), Santa Maria Novella (SMN) train station 15-20 minutes) and the city center with all its sights.

Via Venezia, Florence.

Design Apartment's bedroom.


Design Apartment's kitchen.

After 3 wonderful days in Florence, we once again head to the SMN train station to catch our 11:33 AM train to Naples. 2:55 later we should be in the Napoli Centrale train station looking for our Circumvesuviana train to Sorrento. The apartment we have reserved through Booking.com is the Appartamento Corso Italia 269 which is situated on the main street through Sorrento. Our rental rate for this one bedroom unit was €365 or about $410 for 5 nights. We have never been to Sorrento or the Amalfi Coast so this will be an exciting new adventure for us. From here we hope to visit the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum, Positano, Amalfi and the isle of Capri. That will be a lot to do in 5 days but we'll still have time to see Sorrento and to relax.
Bedroom in Appartamento Corso Italia 269 in Sorrento.








Dining area...

Kitchen...
   After spending five days and nights in Sorrento, it's back to Napoli Centrale train station for our 12:55 Italotreno ride to Bologna. After arriving at Bologna Centrale train station about 3 1/2 hours later, the apartment owner will pick us up and take us to his Palazzo Pannolini apartment in the center of town. Last year, when we visited this beautiful porticoed city, we rented a very nice apartment further from the center, so this time we decided to be much closer to restaurants, stores and historical sites. We were immediately attracted to this apartment on Tripadvisor because of the photos showing a cozy, well-appointed and beautiful one bedroom apartment that was built into the portico of the 16th century building. Our rental rate for 5 nights was €446 or about $495. From our apartment we can easily walk to everything! We are also planning day trips to Ravenna and Modena. Our last train trip will be back to Milan for our final stay at Hotel Mythos. So far, we have no plans for our last day in Milan...

Living room at Palazzo Pannolini apartment.

Entrance at Palazzo Pannolini apartment.

Bedroom at Palazzo Pannolini apartment.

Palazzo Pannolini.


   Well, that's the nuts and bolts of our lodging for 15 days traveling in our favorite country - Italy. Finding a great place to stay that suits your budget is not difficult. The easiest to use site for me has been Booking.com. There you can, more often than not, reserve an apartment or a hotel room without a deposit, pay when you get there and cancel for free within a week or two of your reserved date. You can also communicate directly with the hotel or apartment owner to tweak your plans with them if you need an early check-in or late check-out time or for any other special requests. Tripadvisor's site also worked well, but you might have to pay a big deposit upfront. We had to pay a 60% deposit for the Bologna apartment. Still, on Tripadvisor, you'll be able to get a complete refund if you meet the "date by" requirements.

   I hope this information will be helpful to you as you plan your big Italian adventure. Remember, Italy is waiting for you!

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